Aromatherapy is believed to be a powerful tool in promoting self-healing both physically and psychologically – but is there any evidence to support this?
The holistic characteristics of essential oils are said to offer an array of benefits to the body physiologically including: toxin removal, enhanced blood circulation, increased stamina and skin disorder treatment. When combined with massage, aromatherapy is also believed to provide an excellent solution for joint ache and muscle fatigue as well as offering a relaxing and calming environment which encourages deep breathing and improved respiratory. Key research to prove this is provided by one clinical trial that recorded the blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate of a small group of patients undergoing aromatherapy massage (Kite SM, Maher EJ, Anderson K 1998) The results showed that the patients’ blood pressure had significantly reduced and the overall respiratory rate of the patients had lowered, thus proving some of the physiological capabilities of aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is also thought to have psychological benefits, those of which including: increased relaxation, insomnia relief, reduced feeling of anxiety/depression and a general feeling of wellbeing. It is also believed to be extremely therapeutic for individuals suffering from long-term illnesses, helping them to release stagnant energy and enjoy a better quality of life.
In fact, a recent study was conducted to trial the effects of aromatherapy massage on 42 patients with advanced cancer over a period of 4-weeks (Soden K, Vincent K, Craske S, 2004) The results showed that the patients had lower anxiety and stress levels, were able to obtain more sleep and experienced a reduced sensation of pain, thereby proving the benefits aromatherapy has on the mind.
Kite SM, Maher EJ, Anderson K, et al.: Development of an aromatherapy service at a Cancer Centre. Palliat Med 12 (3): 171-80, 1998
Soden K, Vincent K, Craske S, et al.: A randomized controlled trial of aromatherapy massage in a hospice setting. Palliat Med 18 (2): 87-92, 2004)